Canadian defense minister to Greg Gutfeld and Fox News: Apologize; Update: Gutfeld apologizes

posted at 4:25 pm on March 23, 2009 by Allahpundit

In which a YouTube grassroots brushfire explodes into a full-blown international incident. You make the call: Below you’ll find the “Red Eye” segment that aired on March 17 followed by MacKay’s demand for an apology this morning. Four Canadian troops were killed in Afghanistan in the interim, something that I suspect would have steered Gutfeld away from this topic if it had happened before the taping. Even so, the only really objectionable line is Doug Benson joking that he didn’t know Canada was part of the fight. Otherwise it’s standard goofs about Canadians being softer/more polite than Americans blended with a critique of foreign governments neglecting military spending. It’s not a knock on Canadian troops, in other words; on the contrary, Gutfeld explicitly agrees with one panelist who says near the end that he has “tremendous respect for anyone who serves,” whether Canadian or American. But as I say, your call. Click the image to watch.

Update: Ask and ye shall receive.

“The March 17th episode of Red Eye included a segment discussing Canada’s plan for a ‘synchronized break,’ which was in no way an attempt to make light of troop efforts,” Greg Gutfeld, host of the segment, told the Canwest News Service on Monday in an e-mailed statement.

“However, I realize that my words may have been misunderstood. It was not my intent to disrespect the brave men, women and families of the Canadian military, and for that I apologize. Red Eye is a satirical take on the news, in which all topics are addressed in a lighthearted, humourous and ridiculous manner.”

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Let’s try this: someone flies a jetliner into a building in downtown Toronto, killing thousands. You offer your support to Canada, including sending troops overseas to help take down the cabal that hosted the attackers. Your troops are busy fighting and dying, with a planned operational stand-down coming up. A Canadian comedy host starts yacking about how the Americans are taking time off to run around in capri pants and paint landscapes, pussies that they are. What a ridiculous country, he says. Someone else chimes in that he didn’t even know the Americans were fighting. Their soldiers are doing so little, after all, it’s barely noticeable.

That scenario is a non starter – No one would have any doubts that the Americans were there and getting the job done. They would never take a year off for training or regrouping. And if they did, they would be deserving of mocking.

And BTW – it’s not the Canadian soldiers that were being ridiculed, it’s the Canadian government for having such a weak and underfunded military. And the only reason they can get away with it, is because they share a border with us, because they know we would never allow some thugs to come and make war with Canada.

Queen0fCups on March 24, 2009 at 8:14 PM

Canada can go piss-off:

From 2003

During a four-day visit, boys travelling with their Massachusetts hockey team witnessed the burning of the Stars and Stripes and the booing of the U.S. national anthem. When travelling in their bus emblazoned with a red-white-and-blue “Coach USA” logo, they saw people on the street who extended their middle fingers or made other angry gestures.
[...]
Their bus entered downtown Montreal just as hundreds of college and university students were marching through the streets in an antiwar demonstration. Police cruisers spotted the U.S. bus and escorted it to its hotel on Sherbrooke Street as a safety precaution. A police officer urged the visitors to remain in the bus until the protest passed.

The children watched as several demonstrators made obscene gestures toward the bus. A U.S. flag was dragged through the street.

“We felt horrible,” Mr. Nadeau said. “How would you feel if the Canadian flag was dragged down the streets in the U.S.A.? This is a country that’s supposed to be our ally.”

That night, about a dozen families went to the Montreal Canadiens-New York Islanders game at the Montreal Bell Centre, a much-anticipated visit planned months in advance. In a gesture later condemned, the U.S. national anthem was widely booed by the crowd, leaving the visiting American children perplexed.

“The kids were just questioning, ‘Why are they doing this?’ ” said David Cruise, who was there with his 12-year-old son. “It’s hard for them to realize we weren’t in America any more; we were in a different country.

“I said, ‘They’re booing our national anthem because they don’t like us.’ ”

Mr. Cruise felt so uncomfortable that he left with his son after the first period. “Whether you’re for or against the war, we have guys over there dying,” Mr. Cruise said. “The next time, we’ll stay in the States. I’m not going back there again.”

The visitors say anti-American comments continued when the young players faced off against the Beverly Bandits, a team from Beverly, Ont. U.S. players say the Canadians hurled insults during face-offs and at other times.

“They told us we sucked, gave us the finger and said ‘Down with the U.S.A.’ or ‘The U.S.A. sucks,” Mr. Nadeau said. At one point, a Canadian player made a disparaging remark about the United States “and the referee turned around and said, ‘I agree with you.’ “What stunned us was that the referee, who is supposed to be unbiased, is agreeing with the boys on the ice.”

His players “wanted to retaliate” against the Canadians, but Mr. Nadeau said he urged them “not to do anything foolish.”

VinceP1974 on March 24, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Let’s try this: someone flies a jetliner into a building in downtown Toronto, killing thousands. You offer your support to Canada, including sending troops overseas to help take down the cabal that hosted the attackers. Your troops are busy fighting and dying, with a planned operational stand-down coming up. A Canadian comedy host starts yacking about how the Americans are taking time off to run around in capri pants and paint landscapes, pussies that they are. What a ridiculous country, he says. Someone else chimes in that he didn’t even know the Americans were fighting. Their soldiers are doing so little, after all, it’s barely noticeable.

Gaunilon on March 24, 2009 at 8:00 PM

Your country isn’t there to avenge the WTC. Your country is there to reduce the likelihood of an airliner being flown into an office building in Toronto.

ddrintn on March 24, 2009 at 8:27 PM

Have to disagree ddrintn,

It is their presence in Afghanistan that has put them high up on the terrorist hitlist. Supporting the US in afghanistan has significantly increased the likelyhood they will be attacked not the otherway around. Just look at the increase in threats they’ve receieved post-afghan war involvement.

DustyGreen on March 25, 2009 at 12:39 AM

Have to disagree ddrintn,

It is their presence in Afghanistan that has put them high up on the terrorist hitlist. Supporting the US in afghanistan has significantly increased the likelyhood they will be attacked not the otherway around. Just look at the increase in threats they’ve receieved post-afghan war involvement.

DustyGreen on March 25, 2009 at 12:39 AM

Have to disagree with DustyGreen. Everyone who does not adhere to their exact brand of Islam is on the terrorists’ hit list already. The only difference between all of us on the hit list is when and how they’ll hit us. It therefore behooves everyone on the hit list to fight the terrorists now and wholeheartedly, rather than waiting until the terrorists start working their way down the list.

Canada and the rest of the free world are not pulling their own weight. If they wish to remain free, they need to start doing so now.

OscarSchneegans on March 25, 2009 at 6:11 AM

Good call on Gutfeld to apologize. He should have done it as soon as he realized the offense had occurred.

As a retired Military guy, I appreciate the sacrifice and support of ALL our allies, and to crack jokes about the defense forces of our closest neighbor is no laughing matter in my book.

That all said, I understood the context of the original comments, and consider the whole thing closed.

itzWicks on March 25, 2009 at 8:36 AM

1. An isolated incident happened in another country a while ago.

2. This incident offended me.

3. I’m ignorant enough to ascribe the negative characteristics of those participating in the incident to the entire population of country.

Signed, VinceP

P.S. I’m probably also a bigot and, quite possibly, racist.

johnnynucleo on March 25, 2009 at 9:14 AM

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